Of Sunburns, Snorkeling and Finding Nemo

Snorkeling in Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol

Unbelievable. They look straight at you, doe-eyed and incredibly cute, you can’t help but stare back as intently, as adorably. Clown fishes.

Clown fishes by their writhing anemone. They have to be the most adorable sea creatures ever. And very brave, too, they don’t dart away at the site of mere humans. I couldn’t believe I met them, just then. And there. At a beach whose coral reef was previously unheard of (at least by me). Punta Cruz Beach in Maribojoc, Bohol isn’t exactly the best beach in Bohol. There’s barely any sand, the seashore’s rocky with the kind that maims, and it’s dotted with sea urchins, huge sea urchins. The place is flocked with locals and tourists alike because of the centuries-old triangle-planned stone watchtower, Punta Cruz. And it’s not as crowded as the ones in Panglao. It still has the rustic feel about it.

Punta Cruz, Maribojoc, Bohol

Anyway, it was only the second time in a year that I actually swam in seawater. Going to the beach for me mostly meant just hanging out with friends, enjoying the view, picnicking, stuff other than swimming. The first time was the previous weekend in Panggangan Island, Calape, Bohol. I swam because it would be my first time to actually snorkel. I decided to snorkel because it was about time I did. And I was so glad I did, at last. I was even thinking, why the heck didn’t I do this way, way before?

Panggangan Island, Calape, Bohol

Okay, I know why. One, I don’t know how to swim. I previously thought that you had to go into the deep to actually see the beautiful fishes and corals. Not exactly. In Punta Cruz, the feeling was intimate, the coral reef was only a few meters from the shore and the water was just about chest deep.

I got a new 'skin-pa-lang-damit-na' top

Two, I only then realized? My skin burned too fast. So maybe I was a little too carried away, swimming with all the lovely fishes of a heady assortment, blue ones, those striped black and yellow, clown fishes (turns out I only knew so little fishes) that I exposed my back too long under the seething sun. The result? The nastiest sunburn mark ever, brutally slapped on my back.

Balicasag Island, Panglao, Bohol

Three, I don’t know how to swim. Okay. So, apparently, I could still snorkel in the deeper parts with the life vest on. I learned this, in fact, the following week, when another opportunity to go swimming and snorkeling presented itself, I again grabbed it. And at the famous dive site, Balicasag Island too, southwest off Panglao Island. (And this time, with a GoPro Hero, first roll of film inside, strapped to my wrist.)That was my first time, too, actually swimming in the deep. The place was trenched, we were just at the border between the not so deep (where the bottom of the sea is still visible) and the deep deep (where the water is so endlessly bluuuueeee, like seeing in the dark only it’s blue not black, it’s scaaarrrry). It was a wonderful experience. Not as intimate as the Punta Cruz snorkel but more breathtaking, spine-tingling, thrilling. It actually felt like I just conquered something really big after that swim. I again found Nemo, bigger and bolder. More corals and fishes. And a huge shiny swirl of jack fishes, the stuff that you only see on TV.

Next stop: Pamilacan Island, Baclayon, Bohol

Four, I’m really not as adventurous as one would think. But all this, is gonna change. I’m going scuba diving this weekend – not!

Of course I don’t have the moolah to do that, not just yet, moreso, the guts. One step, or one stroke, at a time, I guess. And my skin hasn’t recovered yet. Though ultimately, I don’t think sunburns would matter much any more. (We again went to the beach, in Manga this city, last Sunday, making it the fourth in a row, but remnants of Frank’s powers were still there, the sea wasn’t just as charming that time.) But if come weekend, the beach would again summon me? I don’t think I can say no any longer. Snorkel set in one hand, sunscreen lotion on the other, lord of the seas, here I come!

Sunset view from Tagbilaran City


Yes, We Can!

This is an awesome video of an awesome song inspired from an awesome speech. I wish we had as riveting politicians. I would readily create a video like this for him or her. I still believe that it is quite incredible for the US of A to have a colored President, but I'm willing to rethink my view. Obama just might can.